On Thursday, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a budget bill that lays out Ohio’s priorities for the next two years. This budget falls short to invest to solve Ohio’s most pressing needs. As people of faith, we want our budget to prioritize the hungry, the sick, and those who are marginalized in society. Through strategic investments, we can build up the Beloved community.
On Tuesday, March 5th, in his State of the State Address, Governor Mike DeWine talked about investing in Ohio’s future. The Governor discussed the importance of maintaining safe roadways and bridges, developing and sustaining a quality education for our children and keeping them safe, helping those struggling to overcome addiction and trauma, and ensuring a healthy environment where we all have access to clean water. A speech is only the first step.
Two traditions are clashing in some Christian Denominations. One is a tradition of Christian treatment of homosexuality as sin, the other is a tradition inclusive of all that in this case includes persons regardless of sexual orientation. The Hunger Network of Ohio affirms the tradition of inclusive love and the extending of grace to all including LGBTQ persons. Inclusion and care for all persons motivates our dedication and work to overcome hunger and poverty. We encourage people to embrace diversity, inclusivity, and care for one another.
As people of faith, we support strong consumer protections for families struggling to get by. Exploitative loans catch people in a debt trap that they struggle to get out of. HNO board member, Rev. Leonard Killings traveled to Chicago to advocate to protect federal rules with a coalition of faith leaders.
The Hunger Network in Ohio stands in opposition to shortening the timeline of evictions through the inclusion of weekends and holidays in the calculation of days.While we all value an unambiguous process, it does not need to come at the expense of fairness. As outlined in the LSC Analysis of this bill, notice provided on a Thursday should lead to a ling, at earliest Tuesday, but ideally even later than that.
There are many people speaking publicly against issue 1. They are saying things that cause fear and doubt over issue 1. The reality is that changing our system is hard for a lot of people and institutions who have been involved with it for so long. But the status quo doesn’t make our communities safe or healthy. Issue 1 seeks to fix that.
See below for some helpful ways to respond to the common arguments against issue 1.
They say - Ohio will be a haven for drug dealers
Issue 1 addresses low-level, non-violent drug possession charges. Those who are exploiting our communities for profit will still be charged to the fullest extent of the law. We need to save the beds in our prisons for those who seek harm, not those who have been harmed. Issue 1 will allow us to provide the treatment we need.
They say - You can kill thousands of people and not go to jail with fentanyl.
Drug dealers seek to exploit those who are most vulnerable in our communities. Even small amounts of fentanyl will still be classified as felonies and result in those who do harm going to prison.
They say - This doesn’t belong in the Constitution
The Legislature, the Governor, the Attorney General, and many others have failed to act to address our criminal justice system inadequacies and shortcomings. In their failure to act, Ohio citizens designed an Ohio solution. Even the outgoing Director of Ohio’s prisons recently said that he regrets the explosion in prison population.
They say - What about another idea?
The Legislature and political leaders have had years to fix the problem of an unjust justice system and they have ignored it. All of a sudden, they have new ideas. People need treatment today.
The Hunger Network in Ohio encourages communities of faith to vote YES on Issue 1 this November. As people of faith, we believe that those who are sick should be cared for, not punished. We believe in redemption and restoration of people who are struggling. Re-orienting our drug policies toward treatment over incarceration will make Ohio communities healthy and safe.